Verland Lenth of Waukon wins The Standard’s 2024 Bracket Challenge

The 2024 NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship Tournament has played its way to a final champion, as the University of Connecticut (UConn) topped Purdue University in the Monday, April 8 National Championship game, 75-60, to repeat as the NCAA Men’s Basketball Champion. The sorting out of that 68-team national tournament to this season’s National Championship winner has also resulted in the emergence of the winning entry for The Standard’s Bracket Challenge contest.

The winner of this season’s Bracket Challenge is Verland Lenth of Waukon, as he overcame some average early rounds of picking and a tough third round with some strong final four choices. He was the lone entry this year to choose at least three of this year’s final four teams, selecting UConn, Purdue and Alabama (along with Houston) within his final four teams, and then having UConn defeat Purdue in the finals.

A total of 19 entries had UConn and Purdue selected to go head-to-head in this season’s National Championship game, with the choice for National Champion between those two teams being nearly evenly split among those entries. Nine of them chose Purdue to win this season’s national title, and the other 10 selected UConn.

Out of all of this season’s Bracket Challenge entries, a total of 42 of them had UConn selected to win this year’s National Championship and 15 of them had Purdue chosen to win it all. Although UConn was the overall favorite of this year’s championship selections, Purdue was not the second-highest choice, nor even the third, ending up fourth behind 20 entries choosing Iowa State to win it all this season and 17 other entries choosing Houston to be crowned as this season’s National Champion.

UConn continued to lead the way as this season’s overall favorite selection, as 73 entries had the Huskies chosen to play in Monday’s national title game - the most of this season’s entries. Purdue was not even the second-highest choice to accomplishment that achievement, as 33 entries chose the Boilermakers to be playing in the finals to place them third in that selection category behind the 37 entries that chose Houston to be in this year’s National Championship finale.

The final top 25 entries for The Standard’s Bracket Challenge are listed below. All but one of them had UConn selected as this season’s National Champion, with the top 10 of these entries listed below each correctly picking UConn to defeat Purdue in this year’s National Championship game.

Verland Lenth    147
Linda Mahr    144
Brittany Beneke    142
Troy Gress    142
Diane Berns    141
Kennedy McCormick    140
Neal Daley    137
Maeve Stilwell    137
Cindy Barness    136
Kevin Quillin    134
Ken Krambeer    128
Jarod Dahlstrom    125
Chad Curtin    124
Jim Winters    123
Carol Opfer    123
Herbie Krambeer    123
Steve Engrav    123
Gary Hammel    122
Allie Bieber    122
Darrel Wicks    121
Greg Berns    121
Jayden Clinton    120
Dick Reinke    119
Devin Bieber    118
Dan Denk    118

The Bracket Challenge would not be possible without the support of its sponsors. The Standard encourages everyone, whether they entered the Bracket Challenge or not, to support this year’s sponsors: Fareway Meat and Grocery, Welch, Inc., Veterans Memorial Hospital and Clinics, Hardee’s, West Side Waukon Lumber, Inc., Say Now, FreedomBank, Bodensteiner Body Werks, Fiesta Vallarta, Dee Implement, Sportsmen’s Unlimited, Kurth Plumbing and Heating, EpicWear and Floors Plus.